I believe that any human over the age of 30 has experienced the truth that Life Can Be Strange. Way beyond mere coincidences, I’m talking about those unexpected or ironic twists of plot and character that leave you talking out loud to yourself. I call it God’s sense of humor.
The story shared in an earlier post of the childless woman behind Mother’s Day is a good example. The love and gratitude that Anna Jarvis felt for her own mother led her to spent more than a decade tirelessly working for a day to honor all mothers. The fact that Anna was never herself a Mom, or even a wife, is a powerful little historical tidbit. The rest of her tale, including single-focus efforts to stop the Mother’s Day juggernaut, is Strange to the 10th power.
And now I’ve learned about another of history’s lesser known NotMoms, Frances Gerety.
To sum her up in 2 words, The New York Times recently compared Frances to Peggy Olson, the pioneering ad exec on Mad Men. In real-life, Frances built a long and successful career as one of the few female copywriters at a large Madison Avenue ad agency. During the 1940s, women in that role worked with the women-y clients. Frances’ assignment: DeBeers, a South African company controlling the world’s supply of rough diamonds.
In the first step of a lengthy campaign to show Americans that everyone, not just the ultra-wealthy, needs diamond jewelry, Frances came up with this gem:
“A diamond is forever.”
Those four words served as the catalyst that convinced work-a-day America that any engagement without a diamond ring was just not as good, and diamond jewelry at any other time was even better. To date, the slogan has appeared in every DeBeers ad, and their website, for 66 years, and according to the NY Times, 75% of U.S. brides today wear a diamond engagement ring. Diamonds are a commonly preferred gift for holidays, anniversaries and after the birth of a child.
Frances died in 1999, 2 weeks before Advertising Age named her work the ‘slogan of the century.’ When brides-to-be across America proudly flash their new bling for friends to admire, it’s all because of Frances Gerety. Here’s the kicker: Frances was never married, and she never had children. Didn’t matter. She understood the concepts of love, marital and otherwise, better than anyone else.
(Image Credit: The New York Times)